CREATIVE TECHNIQUES — Textures, Pigments, Brushes and more…

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When I begin a painting, I am never sure how the base surface will end up. I like to use unusual tools and products in paint and watch the piece evolve. It is this process of experimenting with the unfamiliar which challenges and excites me. Many of my techniques are both additive and subtractive in nature. I like putting paint on, using an unusual tool to see what will happen, then partially removing the result. This method of working allows for a layering effect that provides ghost images, adds depth to the surface, and creates mysterious undertones.

In some petroglyph paintings I create textures using acrylic gels and mediums. The thicker texture mediums such as Extra Heavy gels and Molding Pastes can be used quite successfully to imprint upon. On one coat of acrylic gel one can press many fun textures such as plastic objects such as flyswatters, parts of fruits or vegetable cartons, onion mesh, combs, and plastic lids. Metallics work instantaneously so metallic grids and mosquito netting are great.

Some of my favorite techniques include the use of automotive sponge stamps, corrugated cardboard, pickling salt, creating water spots, using plastic and metallic mesh, textured wallpaper, sand and/or gravel, pure powdered pigment, Halloween cobwebs, unconventional brushes (such as twigs, Japanese brushes) and brayers, even soap bubbles!

Creating an exciting surface that incorporates intriguing textures into the composition is the initial goal then I refine my spontaneous beginnings. Scratching, stamping, pouring, smearing paint is the first stage. That may be followed by a number of subtractive techniques such as putting facial tissues down into mushy paint and then ripping it off (for prismatic effects), scraping into wet paint with an old credit card (allowing you to see what is hidden underneath), and then using a rubber brayer to smear and texture in various areas. Pouring paint over cheesecloth gives your painting a spontaneous and improvisational color fusion and texture. This provides for an intriguing and tactile surface creating a substratum for lift outs.